Minneapolis Jimmy John’s workers might still become the first officially recognized fast-food union in the country.
The National Labor Relations Board has found evidence that the franchise owners may have broken the law in the lead-up to the October vote in which pro-union workers narrowly lost by 87 to 85 votes.
Organizers brushed off the loss at the time, saying they didn’t need official recognition to pressure franchise owners Rob and Mike Mulligan for better pay and working conditions. The organizers are affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World, which has historically discounted the importance of recognition by the National Labor Relations Board.
But the workers also disputed the vote, filing a challenge with the board alleging that the Mulligans broke the law by pressuring workers to vote against the union in the lead-up to the vote.
The NLRB recently finished its investigation into the union’s allegations.
“It’s a mixed bag,” NLRB Regional Director Marlin Osthus told City Pages today. “There’s evidence to support that the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act in certain areas of its conduct. Other things that were alleged we didn’t find any support for.”
The findings have brought the Mulligans and union supporters back to the table, as the Labor Board attempts to broker a settlement. Osthus says he is optimistic that the settlement could be finalized as soon as tomorrow. One of the terms of the agreement, he says, is likely to be the nullification of the October vote, which would clear the way for another union vote in the future.
Union organizers declined to comment on the situation until the settlement has been finalized, and the franchise owners did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.